Senator Ali Ndume’s suggestion to the senate is not only disrespectful to women, it is silly.

On March 8, 2016, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, moved the motion to mark the International Women’s Day. In the motion, Tinubu saluted women for their bravery and contribution to the society. “We represent courage and resilience, without us I don’t think this country will move forward.” Senator Ali Ndume, the Senate Leader, however, had an interesting suggestion for showing care to women. He suggested that the ideal way of showing affection to the womenfolk is polygamy. In his contribution, the Senator had the following to say: “I urge men to marry more than one wife. The first care of a woman is marriage. Men should take care of women by not just befriending them, but by going further to marry them.”

Ndume’s motion is a major cause for concern as one would expect that a representative of the federal republic of Nigeria would say something more meaningful about the aspirations of women in a gender-biased society.

Every year, women are celebrated for their economic, political and social achievements. International women’s day is also used to champion issues pertaining to gender parity.

How does polygamy aid gender disparity?

A polygamous home is patriarchal in nature; a situation where all the women in the household look up to the man for moral and financial support. Also, women in this type of union are subject to sexual deprivation, loneliness and jealousy as they only aim to find favour with their husband.

This level of rivalry does very little to aid women empowerment, and in some cases may also hinder the effective participation of women in the economic sector.

Ndume reportedly made a formal request to the Senate, urging men to marry more than one wife. “As a sign of respect for women, let’s urge men to marry more than one wife,” he said. Although, he had a couple of supporters, thankfully, they were outnumbered by other senators who disagreed with the motion.

If a lawmaker could propose such a motion on the day women ought to be celebrated, it shows that gender inequality in Nigeria is more deeply rooted than we think.

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